Essay about Education Challenges Facing Hispanics in the United States

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When one thinks about Hispanics, all too often the image of a field full of migrant workers picking fruit or vegetables in the hot sun comes to mind. This has become the stereotypical picture of a people whose determination and character are as strong or stronger than that of the Polish, Jewish, Greek, or Italian who arrived in the United States in the early 1900's. Then, the center of the new beginning for each immigrant family was an education. An education was the "ladder by which the children of immigrants climbed out of poverty into the mainstream." (Calderon & Slavin, 2001, p. iv) That ideal has not changed, as the Hispanic population has grown in the United States to large numbers very quickly and with little fanfare. Now, the …show more content…
The number of Hispanics has quickly surpassed that of African-Americans as the new, largest minority in the United States. The African-American population of the United States was approximately 34.7 million, or 12.3 percent of the total population. The Hispanic population has shown an increase of 57.9 percent from the Census of 1990. Due to the overwhelming increase in the Hispanic population and the diversity that has accompanied this increase, Census 2000 introduced for the first time an option for a Hispanic person to identify themselves as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or other Hispanic that could be written in an additional space. In the past, the option of writing in a description for "other Hispanic" was not available. This stands as an example of how diverse and rich the Hispanic culture is in itself. Out of the 35.3 million Hispanics identified, 58.5 percent were Mexican, followed by 28.4 percent other Hispanic (Spaniard, South American, Central American, Dominican, and all other), 9.6 percent Puerto Rican, and 3.5 percent Cuban. Of the statistics presented in Census 2000, the most astonishing and meaningful to education are those of population age. Census 2000 found that 35 percent of Hispanics were less than the age of 18 with an average age of about 26; 12 million of this number being school age Hispanics. Only 25.7 percent of the entire U.S.